The day my boyfriend cheated on me, we had sex. We woke up that morning and he started the shower. We took turns under the faucet as usual. He made me laugh. We dried off and he pulled me to the bed. He fucked me, our dewy skin against each other’s. I loved it.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, I blew my hair dry in my underwear sitting indian style on his bed. He made me breakfast. Scrambled eggs with half an orange on the side. I loved his breakfasts.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, he walked me to my car. He told me to have a good day at work. He told me he loved me more. I told him he was wrong. He insisted he was right. He kissed me goodbye. He told me to come over that night for dinner.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, he sent me a nude photo. It came at random. I loved his body. It was of his stomach, a pillow strategically placed to cover his cock. I’d wished it wasn’t there. I loved his cock.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, I texted him and asked if he wanted to come to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. We both lived far away from our parents. After nearly a year together, I’d finally met his that week. He said he’d love to.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, I went home after work. I packed an overnight bag. I went to the gym. I called him to let him know I was on my way. He was cooking us dinner. Salmon.
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, I wasn’t the only one who got the picture of him naked. He’d sent it to Mary. No last name in his phone. Just Mary. He’d met her on a dating website before he’d met me in the break room where we both used to work. Mary had been sending him nudes for a month. He decided that day to participate. Later, he sent her a message: “I’m trying to figure you out.”
The day my boyfriend cheated on me, I hadn’t figured all of this out. I knew about the message. I saw it on his phone. I asked who Mary was while we cut our fish. He got defensive. I left. He chased me to the elevator. I let the door close. He let me leave.
The day after my boyfriend cheated on me, he came over to my apartment. We talked. He told me he would never talk to another girl like that again. He kissed me. He hugged me. He sobbed on the top of my head. He was so tall.
The day after the day after my boyfriend cheated on me, I realized the randomness of the naked picture I received. I got him to confess. Did you send Mary a picture, I asked. Yes, but just of my stomach, he said. I told him to never contact me again. I blocked his number.
The day after the day after the day after my boyfriend cheated on me, I wanted to die. Every second I spent not working, I was drunk. In my bed. I unblocked his number to tell him I hated him. I didn’t get a response.
A week after my boyfriend cheated on me, he texted me. He told me he was sorry. He said what he did was wrong. But he said I shouldn’t have looked at his phone. Two wrongs don’t make a right, he said. He told me the crime didn’t match the punishment. I sent him the picture of “just his stomach.” (I still think that was pretty funny.)
A week and a half after my boyfriend cheated on me, I got roofied at a bar. A woman found me lying on the sidewalk. She put me in a cab. I woke up in the hospital. I’d called him five times. He never answered.
Two weeks after my boyfriend cheated on me, he texted me. He told me he missed me like crazy. I said, “Sucks, doesn’t it?” He said yes. I asked why he did it. He said he was lost. I didn’t want to hear it.
A month after my boyfriend cheated on me, he texted me again. He asked if we could talk. He said he needed to see me. He said he still had my shoes I’d left at his place. I did want my shoes. I said OK.
A month and two days after my boyfriend cheated on me, we met on a bench by the beach where we used to lick ice cream cones. We talked for two hours. I told myself not to cry. I cried anyways. I cried a lot. He asked me if I hated him. I said I didn’t think I even knew him. He said I knew him better than anyone. I told him that was sad. He said he knew. He stared at me and I asked him why. He said because he loves me. Because he was happy to be with me, and that he wished he could freeze time. He asked if we could work it out. I said no and left.
Four months after my boyfriend cheated on me, I can’t figure out if what he did counts as cheating. I’ve never been physically cheated on, so I can’t say if it feels the same. But it was an act of infidelity. Where it used to take time, contemplation and physical contact to cheat, cell phones and social media blur the lines. Now everyone is the porn star of their own Instagram account, and we have access to anyone at any time. We’re desensitized. And being unfaithful is so incredibly easy. We send pictures that disappear, messages that delete. We see nudity every day—many times people we know, or people with whom we’ve exchanged digital dialog.
Strangely, in a way I am glad about what happened. While I can blame the demise of my relationship on cell phones for their easy access and sexual excess, in actuality I was in love with a real sleaze ball, and I didn’t have to wait until I was married with two kids for him to muster up the courage to physically cheat. He dipped his toes and I found out before he jumped in.